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$1k for stitches?

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    $1k for stitches?

    So, in addition to a host of other medical problems this year, my horse sliced his fetlock open deeply a few weeks ago (about an inch wide, but deep enough to need both internal and external stitches). I called a new vet who was closeby and did a great job taking care of the wound, but I was really surprised to see that the initial visit had a cost $925 (we've already had one $220 follow up visit, and the same vet just came out to remove the stitches today, which I'm sure is going to be exorbitant again). I live in the Baltimore area, and I guess I was just wondering if anyone thought this was either (1) exorbitant or (2) par for the course with an emergency wound (I haven't had those before thankfully). I think now that I've gotten over the initial horror I would actually be relieved if someone said this was perfectly normal for that kind of thing

    The breakdown is as follows if you're interested -
    Emergency fee - $125
    Exam-wound - $40
    Tranq - $26
    Excede (antibiotic) - $72
    Teatnus - $10
    Bandage standing gamgee - $85
    Laceration repair - standing - $375
    Saline - $25
    Bute - $36
    Vetasan - $35
    Gentocin - $85
    Syringe - $8
    Needle = $3

    I think it is broken down pretty clearly. Is it a little high? Maybe, but again in an emergency situation, what are you going to do?
    "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


      The only problem I have is the $40 to examine the wound. Seems like that would be covered in the $375 lac repair.



        Maybe "normal" for your geographic area but that would be quite high for the bulk of the US, I think!


          Well, I think $11 for a syringe and needle that probably cost 50 cents is pretty exorbitant.


            Seems like a very well defined invoice to me & not at all exorbitant for the care given.
            The actual stitching was $375 & from what you describe that was the most extensive/intensive part of the service.
            Meds & bandaging materials are always going to cost more when the vet supplies them.
            Even if you had that type of supply on hand, with risk of infection I'd tend to let the vet use his supply & eat the uptick.
            I'd have just been glad there was an emergency vet available.

            Many (near 30)yrs ago my TB sliced his upper lip, requiring 7 simple stitches to close the wound.
            On a Sunday.
            I remember watching the vet sew him up & mentally thinking $10/stitch.
            I was right on the money there & had to add in the emergency call fee.
            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


              I pay $0.25 for syringes and around $.09 for needles so lets call it $0.35 in total

              A vet would go through a lot more than I would!

              So ... his $11.00 charge for both is literally a $10.65 mark up or a 97% margin. Wow I all I can say ...

              I'd be horrified if I got that bill ...

              True Colours Farm on Facebook


                100 3 cc syringes with needles cost $5.99 from a vet supply house.


                  There are multiple syringes and needles in there--Excede, tranq, tetanus, saline flush of the wound. Plus whatever "disposal" fee the vet has.

                  But yeah, still OUCH.


                    And the cost for the gamgee wrap! A whole roll of gamgee is about $15.00 and the vetrap or a standing wrap is what - like $2.00?!

                    So - he would have used maybe 1/8 - 1/10th of a roll of gamgee and $2.00 in a wrap of some description so lets call that a $4.00 cost and an $85.00 charge. Markup of $81.00 or a 95% margin

                    Again - horrified at the charges if this was me ...

                    True Colours Farm on Facebook


                      Ouch indeed! I've never had a vet charge me for syringes/needles/bandages!

                      Although, some of it is not inflated at all - your vet's Excede is actually cheaper than mine, unless your vet only did the first dose and not the mandatory follow-up. Excede in my area is $120. Your vet's charge for Gentocin is on par with mine.

                      I had a horse have a catastrophic injury including stitches in October. The Gentocin was about the same, IIRC, he had enough to tap out a frat party too.

                      I'm agoggle they charge you for supplies though - and an "examination" if the examination requires medical attention like suturing. Maybe I am extremely lucky, but my vet does not charge for stuff like needles/syringes/bandages/saline..

                      I think the suturing/stitching portion of the bill was about $250 when everything was itemized.. That included the farm call fee, stitching/suture, Gentocin, and tranquilizer.. I'd have to double check the bill for what the total amount was but the vet came, cleaned both puncture wounds, extracted a rock from one, dumped like 3 gallons of betadine into him, gentocin, lots of Dorm, multiple examinations (he had broken pelvis + rib too), an ultrasound of the pelvis that was semi-incomplete because he was in SO much pain, I got bute, banamine, Baytril/DMSO drip and following IV bag and it was under $720....

                      Oh and, he gave me about a months worth of Torb, month's worth of needles/syringes, and a month's worth of Ace and did not charge me for the syringe/needles, just the sedatives.. So yeah, your vet is crazy-expensive!
                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                        Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                        Well, I think $11 for a syringe and needle that probably cost 50 cents is pretty exorbitant.
                        I thought that at first but there were several injections - tranq, antibiotics, tetanus...

                        However, I've never had those itemized out on my bill. They are generally included in the cost of the injection. Same with bandaging. My vet has various bandage charges depending on what type, and any ointments etc. that are done with the bandaging are not separately itemized.

                        That said, might be a bit high, I think in a lot of practices certain things are marked up a lot (like meds, bandaging) and sometimes you get a bit of a break on other things, like a lameness exam is a lameness exam if it takes 30 mins or 3 hrs. to figure out the issue.


                          Thanks for the responses, everyone! I did get 10 needles and 4 syringes, so it wasn't quite so bad. I was really surprised the bandaging cost $85 (I actually know they charge $27 for gamgee, so it was the application of this with some vet wrap that was so much).

                          That charge for the Excede was the first shot; I paid for the next in the follow up (which was why it was such an expensive follow up I suppose).

                          Sigh. Horse emergencies. It's making me feel better just to hear from people


                            Hmm, I don't remember what my bill was when my Red sliced his leg open. (graphic picture after he was stitched with what could be stitched) I think it maybe was around $200? Maybe $300 at the most?? Can't remember. But my vet DOES charge for anything she uses (bandages, syringes, etc) as well as an exam fee. Seems pretty standard to me. Granted, I'm pretty rural compared to Baltimore.

                            I suppose it depends how large the wound was to stitch shut, for how much they charge. Was it a very large wound?

                            My vet did give me the option of stitching it, or just cutting off the flap. I decided to pay more to stitch it on the very small chance it would "take" because it would drastically cut down on healing time. Unfortunately it didn't work and I had to go back to have it debrided anyway, but we tried.
                            It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.


                              Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                              100 3 cc syringes with needles cost $5.99 from a vet supply house.
                              If the Gentocin was a topical spray, it costs $11.99 for 72 milliliters from one internet place. If it was an injectible, I haven't found a vet supply house with open pricing, but the Rood & Riddle pharmacy sells GentaMax, which is gentamicin sulfate for $21.63 for 100 ml.
                              GENTOCIN injectable solution 100 mg/mL is a sterile aqueous solution. Ingredients: each mL contains: Medicinal Ingredient: gentamicin (as sulfate USP) 100 mg; Non-Medicinal Ingredients: 10 mg benzyl alcohol as preservative, 2.4 mg sodium metabisulfite, 0.8 mg sodium sulfite anhydrous, and 0.1 mg edetate disodium.
                              R&R sell the Excede for $269 for 200 mg/ml. Vetasan ointment is $12.07 for 4 oz. and $28.12 for a pound. R&R sells prescription sterile saline solution which is used for injections and many other things in several sizes: 250 ml is $5.41, 500 ml is $6.49, and 1000 ml is $8.66.

                              I'd say this vet is charging very inflated prices for supplies.


                                When my mare went over a gate and sliced her shoulder, I was out ~$700 when the vet was done.

                                Worst part was the stitches sloughed off. Then I ended up with a different vet out a week or so later to debride it for another ~$300.

                                That was almost 10 years ago, so $1K now doesn't seem terribly out of line.
                                Visit my Spoonflower shop


                                  As someone that works in a vet clinic, we would drop customers like flies if we charged those prices. However, we're in a very different geographic area (SW Ohio). There are a variety of geographic and demographic differences that could account for your high bill.


                                    Beau159 YIKES he did a real number on his leg!!


                                      I was surprised my bill to have my horse's teeth floated was over $400. (Including farm call and sedative in addition to the actual procedure.)


                                        Maybe a little high, but not ridiculously so. I paid about $500 for 6 or so stitches on my mare's chest. She fell on a seemingly harmless wooden fence board (sigh...) and split her chest. It wasn't very long, but it was deep (it split the muscle as well). I'm in California. Emergency call fee (Sunday), clipping and cleaning the wound, sedation, stitches, tetanus booster, etc.